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SkyPortal Vs SkySafari (vs SkySafari 6+ & Pro)

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#1 Blackjack56

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 08:58 PM

Just purchased my first scope, a Celestron Nexstar EdgeHD 8” with StarSense, to be delivered in a couple of days.
I downloaded the free app StarPortal by Celestron but see a lot of references to SkySafari here. Questions are:
1) Should I work with SkyPortal for now to get familiar with my equipment or jump right into SkySafari?
2) If SkySafari now, which version (basic, 6+, or Pro)?
3) Would SkySafari have all the same functionality with my scope as SkyPortal?

Thanks much in advance!

#2 jhbanister

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 09:29 PM

Just purchased my first scope, a Celestron Nexstar EdgeHD 8” with StarSense, to be delivered in a couple of days.
I downloaded the free app StarPortal by Celestron but see a lot of references to SkySafari here. Questions are:
1) Should I work with SkyPortal for now to get familiar with my equipment or jump right into SkySafari?
2) If SkySafari now, which version (basic, 6+, or Pro)?
3) Would SkySafari have all the same functionality with my scope as SkyPortal?

Thanks much in advance!

SkyPortal is similar to the free version of SkySafari and will run a Celestron scope, which free SkyPortal will not.  However it has less features than Free SkySafari otherwise.  I run SkySafari Plus which will run your scope and is much more fully featured.  I think it is the sweet spot for price verses features, but SkySafari Pro does have many more extras, but at a greater price.


Edited by jhbanister, 28 September 2020 - 09:32 PM.

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#3 Blackjack56

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 09:33 PM

Thanks - did you mean SkySafari plus?

#4 Blackjack56

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 09:34 PM

Nvmnd - I see the edits :). Thanks much!

#5 eyeoftexas

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 09:47 PM

Go to this site (https://skysafariastronomy.com) and scroll down to click the button named "Click for Comparison Charts".  It shows the differences between SS Free, Plus, and Pro.  I run Plus on my iPhone to control my iOptron mount, and Pro on my computer.  Plus is sufficient to run a scope and do almost everything Pro can do.  The only limitation I have found is sometimes I would like to see a few more stars (increase the limiting magnitude) when trying to find a target.



#6 Blackjack56

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Posted 28 September 2020 - 10:39 PM

Thanks - I found that site and comparison chart shortly after posting here. Very useful. I also noted that SkyPortal is actual “powered by” SkySafari 6, and even acknowledged as such on Celestron’s website. I will probably start with SkyPortal until I am thoroughly comfortable with my equipment, then consider SkySafari 6+.

#7 sg6

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 02:06 AM

Easy answer is just get Skysafari Plus.

It will do I suspect everything you want, probably more, and there are enough stars and objects there to occupy you for many decades to come.

 

I looked at a lot of the freebie ones, all were deleted usually within 20 minutes.

Took the "risk" of Skysafari and after 2 or 3 years it is still there, and running and doing all I need including scope control. In a way "It just works and works both right and well".

 

Did get mine at a half price offer stage, still running Plus ver 5.

It is ine of those rare items that they seem to have it right.

 

As you have a Celestron Skysafari will perform the goto alignment - well they say it will.


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#8 Blackjack56

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 01:51 PM

Thanks Cosmos - I'm sure I will end up with SkySafari sooner than later!



#9 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 05:58 AM

Thanks - I found that site and comparison chart shortly after posting here. Very useful. I also noted that SkyPortal is actual “powered by” SkySafari 6, and even acknowledged as such on Celestron’s website. I will probably start with SkyPortal until I am thoroughly comfortable with my equipment, then consider SkySafari 6+.

I believe SkyPortal is powered by Sky Safari 5.

 

I recommend starting out by purchasing SkySafari 6 plus (or pro.)  There are several additions and improvements as well as much more complete databases.  If you start with SkyPortal, you will eventually have to switch and relearn some of the program.  It's $15 well spent. 

 

I have been using SkySafari for about 10 years, it's about all I use anymore.  I use the Pro version because I am using some larger scopes and need the larger databases for both objects and stars. It does have a few features useful to anyone.  The moon map is much more detailed.  The Galaxy feature is nice.  It shows where the object is in relation to the earth and the rest of the Milky Way.  The globulars can be quite surprising.  

 

Jon


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#10 Ittaku

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 06:26 AM

I have been using SkySafari for about 10 years, it's about all I use anymore.  I use the Pro version because I am using some larger scopes and need the larger databases for both objects and stars. It does have a few features useful to anyone.

Question - do you align and control your scope with it? As much as I've tried, I can't say I like the interface of it as much as just using the hand controller so far, especially for manually slewing.



#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 06:41 AM

Question - do you align and control your scope with it? As much as I've tried, I can't say I like the interface of it as much as just using the hand controller so far, especially for manually slewing.

I am a star hopper 100% so I cannot comment.  I have a friend who uses it for scope control, it works for him.  

 

I think the advantage of SkySafari for GOTO is that you can work directly from chart.  You see an object of interest, you don't have to punch in any numbers, you just select the object and tell the scope to GO TO it.  

 

You can also build observing lists and work from the list rather than having to enter each object into the controller.  With an observing list with your hand controller, I don't think there is a way to download it.  To me, it seems much more efficient, a GUI instead of a command line interface. 

 

What do you do if you want to point to a comet?  With Sky Safari, you have the exact location, you look up brightest comets in the search menu, select the one you want and tell the scope to go there.

 

Jon

 

Jon



#12 Ittaku

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 06:56 AM

I am a star hopper 100% so I cannot comment.  I have a friend who uses it for scope control, it works for him.  

 

I think the advantage of SkySafari for GOTO is that you can work directly from chart.  You see an object of interest, you don't have to punch in any numbers, you just select the object and tell the scope to GO TO it.  

 

You can also build observing lists and work from the list rather than having to enter each object into the controller.  With an observing list with your hand controller, I don't think there is a way to download it.  To me, it seems much more efficient, a GUI instead of a command line interface. 

 

What do you do if you want to point to a comet?  With Sky Safari, you have the exact location, you look up brightest comets in the search menu, select the one you want and tell the scope to go there.

Sure thing, that I understand. However for planetary imaging, I like to move things around, grab some moons separately etc. with some fine control, and it's either too fine or not fine enough with the app.
 



#13 eyeoftexas

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 02:51 PM

Question - do you align and control your scope with it? As much as I've tried, I can't say I like the interface of it as much as just using the hand controller so far, especially for manually slewing.

I use SS+ to control my iOptron mount with AT115EDT and have used it with my 12" Orion XX12g.  It works incredibly well and is very easy to use.  But, SS cannot align those mounts, only control them after they have been aligned with the hand controllers.  Apparently, however, SS+ or SSpro can both control and align Celestron mounts (or at least some of them).  See the SS website for details.



#14 Ittaku

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 03:32 PM

I use SS+ to control my iOptron mount with AT115EDT and have used it with my 12" Orion XX12g.  It works incredibly well and is very easy to use.  But, SS cannot align those mounts, only control them after they have been aligned with the hand controllers.  Apparently, however, SS+ or SSpro can both control and align Celestron mounts (or at least some of them).  See the SS website for details.

This is what I was referring to. I've already used it to both align and control my Celestron mount, but I don't like using the slew icons after alignment. Goto alone isn't enough to get everything I need all the time. If I try to use the handcontroller for subtle slewing, then the tracking is actually paused on the telescope completely until I use the app once more as the HC and external control don't talk to each other; as far as the HC is concerned, the scope isn't aligned.


Edited by Ittaku, 30 September 2020 - 03:35 PM.


#15 JGlover

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 03:44 PM

But, SS cannot align those mounts, only control them after they have been aligned with the hand controllers.  Apparently, however, SS+ or SSpro can both control and align Celestron mounts (or at least some of them).  See the SS website for details.

The basic Sky Safari cannot control a mount, you have to go to the Plus or Pro versions for mount control. The Scope connection options are not available in the basic program for either wired or wireless control.



#16 eyeoftexas

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 07:27 PM

This is what I was referring to. I've already used it to both align and control my Celestron mount, but I don't like using the slew icons after alignment. Goto alone isn't enough to get everything I need all the time. If I try to use the handcontroller for subtle slewing, then the tracking is actually paused on the telescope completely until I use the app once more as the HC and external control don't talk to each other; as far as the HC is concerned, the scope isn't aligned.

Why use the hand controller?  You can have SS (plus or pro) slew the scope to where the object is, and then use the arrow keys for subtle adjustment to center the object if needed.  You can control the slew rate in SS.  I then press align in the scope controller and then SS will realign itself with the object.  After the initial one or two star alignment with the hand controller, I never touch it again.



#17 Ittaku

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 08:17 PM

Why use the hand controller?  You can have SS (plus or pro) slew the scope to where the object is, and then use the arrow keys for subtle adjustment to center the object if needed.  You can control the slew rate in SS. 

What I'm trying to tell you is the slew controls in the app are dodgy. I can either set it too slow, or too fast, but nowhere in between where I want the control.
 



#18 LIVE LONG

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 08:25 AM

 Sky Safari Plus has never let me down. It was on sale for $6.00. 

 

 It's a low cost investment, that pays out huge dividends!!!


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#19 eyeoftexas

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 02:48 PM

What I'm trying to tell you is the slew controls in the app are dodgy. I can either set it too slow, or too fast, but nowhere in between where I want the control.
 

Yes, it is true that SS has four rates for the controls, whereas hand controllers tend to have far more (my iOptron has 9).  I guess I have just gotten use to it, but I never go faster than either "1" or "2", because my GoTo seems to always be close enough to not need a fast slew.  Sorry for my misunderstanding.



#20 Roger Corbett

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:27 PM

Sky Portal is now powered by Sky Safari 6.  

 

It says so on the splash screen when it opens.

 

Nice app — used fo use it for the audio descriptions of sky objects until they brought that over to the regular SS.

 

As someone else wrote, the P,us is the sweet spot!




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